Written and Photographed by Juliet Blankespoor (except where credited)
The following article is a sneak peek into our 375-hour Online Foraging Course: Edible and Medicinal Wild Herbs. The course begins with the basic ground rules of foraging safety and ethics and then moves on to botany and plant identification. Before you know it, you’ll have the skills and confidence to safely identify and harvest wild plants.
You’ll befriend THE most common edible and medicinal wayside plants, including dandelion, stinging nettles, violet, yarrow, burdock, rose, goldenrod, and many others. The printable manual is hundreds of pages long and filled with close-up photos for identification, medicinal uses, and loads of easy-to-follow recipes. In fact, most of our plant profiles contain more detail than you’ll find in any book on wild foods and herbs.
Registration for this online course will re-open in 2020. Check out our other online programs, which have ongoing enrollment: The Herbal Immersion Program (which includes the Foraging Course and likewise features our glowing lesson on goldenrod) and the Medicine Making Course.
Sign up here for free tutorials (videos + articles) on foraging and herbal medicine, and to be notified when enrollment reopens.
Identifying Goldenrod Flowers
Scientific Name: Solidago spp.
Plant Family: Asteraceae, aster family
Other Common Names: Goldruthe, woundwort, Aaron’s rod, and solidago
Introduction: Each fall, all across North America, goldenrod lights up meadows and fields with a refreshing blend of ruggedness and jubilation. In addition to the sunshine it lends to the landscape, its flowers attract native pollinators and beneficial insects. Goldenrod’s piney-tasting leaves and flowers are an important medicinal remedy for the urinary, digestive, and respiratory systems. The goldenrod genus encompasses one hundred species of late-blooming, knee- or hip-high herbaceous perennials.
Goldenrod is imbued with a decided botanical exceptionalism—heralding primarily from America, where it has been employed for centuries as a medicine, dye plant, and beverage tea. Although most goldenrod species are native to North America, a few species are native to Eurasia and South America. European goldenrod (Solidago virgaurea) is an important folk remedy for lessening bleeding and diarrhea and healing wounds—earning it the name woundwort.1